Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

In Fisher II, the Supreme Court Should Look at Reality, Not Pretense

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood zeroes in on the use of "diversity" to justify the racial preference regime on campus, and explains why the Supreme Court should abandon the diversity rationale entirely.

Outrageous Valdosta State Case Has a Pretty Good Ending

George Leef

A Valdosta State University student's right to speech was recognized in a settlement. 

"Teaching" Ferguson

Ashley Thorne

Faculty members and teachers use the grand jury's decision in the Ferguson case as an opportunity to advance the view that America is plagued by racism.

Are Course Syllabi Covered by Copyright?

George Leef

George Leef argues that a syllabus should be a shared resource—not something kept under lock and key.

A Serious Blow to Academic Freedom--No Outcry, Though

Peter Wood

The latest in the attacks on Mark Regnerus is a court decision that utterly undermines scholarly peer review.

The Critical Question Involves “Critical Mass”

R. Lawrence Purdy

The Supreme Court fails to come to grips with "critical mass," an academic euphemism for unlawful quotas.

Eastern Michigan University Settles with Expelled Counseling Student Julea Ward

Ashley Thorne

Eastern Michigan University will pay $75,000 to settle a suit brought by Julea Ward, a counseling student the university expelled because of her beliefs about homosexuality.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Derails Dr. King's Dream

R. Lawrence Purdy

The repeal of Michigan's affirmative action ban shows inconsistency with the history of the civil rights movement.

Free Speech Vindicated at University of Cincinnati

George W. Dent

Another university's restriction of free speech is judged unconstitutional.

What Will the Court Do About Affirmative Action?

Glenn Ricketts

John Rosenberg dissects the "diversity' policies at the University of Texas now under scrutiny by the SCOTUS.

Fisher Case Generates Wide Press Coverage, Reactions

Glenn Ricketts

Press coverage and commentary of the US Supreme Court's decision to accept the case of Fisher v. University of Texas for review.

SCOTUS Grants Certiorari in UTexas Admissions Case

Glenn Ricketts

The Supreme Court grants Certiorari in a major affirmative action case in Texas.

 

SCOTUS Strikes Down Raced-Based Redistricting in Texas

Glenn Ricketts

Race based legislative boundaries are banned in Texas in a case that bears on university admissions policy.

Why the SCOTUS Should Reverse Grutter

Glenn Ricketts

The 2003 Supreme Court decision in Grutter v Bollinger was severely flawed. Larry Purdy wants it overturned.

FIRE Sends Open Letter to OCR on Sexual Harassment, NAS Co-Signs

Glenn Ricketts

We collaborate with FIRE against OCR guidelines that trivialize sexual harassment with severe results to the careers of those frivolously charged.

By the Content of Their Character

Glenn Ricketts

A summary of where we stand on group-based preferences, what we've done, and where we're going.

Amicus Brief in Support of Rehearing Michigan Civil Rights Case

After receiving this amicus brief from NAS and civil rights organizations, the 6th circuit court of appeals has agreed to rehear a case that will determine whether the state of Michigan will ban racial preferences. Court has agreed to do so.

NAS Board Member Weighs in on Michigan Civil Rights Case

Gail Heriot

NAS board member Gail Heriot tries to make sense out of the recent federal appeals court decision overturning Michigan's voter-approved ban on racial quotas, but finds the court's legal reasoning baffling.

More On Sixth Circuit MCI Ruling

Glenn Ricketts

Competitive Enterprise Institute attorney Hans Bader has some interesting commentary on last week's Sixth Circuit ruling invalidating Michigan's voter-approved Civil Rights Initiative. A divided panel, as I reported here last week, ruled that MCI "harmed minorities" because it violated the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution. But as Bader demonstrates, the only way to construe the appeals court's bizarre logic is to conclude that Equal Protection requires treating people UNequally. A cynic might think that the court intended to reach its result, one way or another. Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will review the case and respect the decision of Michigan's voters.

Two Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Deal a Shocking Blow to the Concept of Equality under the Law

R. Lawrence Purdy

Two judges have denied the fundamental principle of human equality approved by Michigan voters in 2006; their action opens the door to racial preferences in that state's higher education.

Federal Appeals Court Invalidates Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

Glenn Ricketts

A divided three-judge panel of the 6th Federal Appeals Circuit has struck down Michigan's voter-approved constitutional amendment banning the consideration of race or sex in college admissions decisions. I haven't had the opportunity to parse the specific details of the constitutional basis on which the court reached this conclusion, only that Propostiion 2, as it was known as a ballot initiative, harms minority applicants. The next step, if there is one, will be an appeal to the full bench of the 6th circuit or to the US Supreme Court. The decision comes at a time when the California Legislature is considering a law which would re-introduce racial quotas into the admissions process there, in direct conflict with the provisions of Proposition 209. This you'll recall, was also a voter-approved initiative banning such preferences. Our California affiliate, as noted here, is vigorously opposing this seemingly back-door maneuver. Ward Connerly, a tireless opponent of racial preferences and supporter of both ballot initiatives, gets it right when says that it's becoming impossible for the people to make their own collective decisions in these matters, due to the arbitrary intervention of the courts. Let's hope that an appeal is not long in coming.

Diversity, Texas Style

Glenn Ricketts

KC Johnson and Charlotte Allen provide some useful analysis of the Fifth Circuit's appeals level decision upholding the the race-based admissions policies of the University of Texas, Austin. 

Race and College Admissions: Still More

Glenn Ricketts

The day simply has to be coming when the issue of race in college admissions or faculty hiring generates no new litigation "diversity" policies, because everyone is finally one the same page: we all agree that this is what the law says, and this is what we'll do in shaping our institutional policies. It hasn't come yet. 

Next Week in D.C.: Lukianoff Speaks to NAS Chapter

Ashley Thorne

Friends in D.C., we hope to see you on Monday, Nov. 1, when FIRE president Greg Lukianoff will address the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Scholars. He will speak on "CLS v. Martinez and the Campus Freedom of Association Crisis." To RSVP and for more details, see this flier.  

Another Federal Judge Upholds Thought Reform

Glenn Ricketts

This summer has been a pretty rough ride for students and faculty whose religious convictions run counter to campus PC trends concerning homosexuality. We've recently seen the summary dismissal (and subsequent reinstatement) of professor Kenneth Howell at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. This came on the heels of a federal judge's ruling last month upholding Eastern Michigan University's right to drop a student from its counseling program because her religious beliefs prevented her from endorsing the lifestyes of gay clients. Now, a virtually identical ruling has just been handed down by a federal court in favor of Georgia's Augusta State University ( read about it here at Inside Higher Education), where a graduate student in a counseling has been given the option of swallowing her religious convictions or leaving the program. That's what both students ended up doing, since they did not want to attend Gay Pride celebrations as a means of correcting their retrograde views of homosexuality. Here again, the court ruled that the university and its program were simply acting within wholly acceptable bounds of professional standards and non-discriminatory conduct, which did not restrict any student's freedom of conscience. As I noted previously, I can't really believe that an agnostic gay counselor with reservations about Christian evangelicals would be required to attend church or Bible study sessions in hopes of altering his negative perspective. I wonder though: what happens when someone comes along who objects to these Orwellian requirements on purely clinical grounds? It's not likely, I know, but a few such people are out there, and it would be interesting to see how the PC forces that presently monopolize the "helping" professions would handle that one. They'd think of something, I'm sure.

Judge Downes Decides Rightly

Steve Balch

We commend Judge Downes' decision to uphold freedom of speech by ordering the University of Wyoming to allow William Ayers to speak on campus.

A SUNY Prof Anathematizes Sellout of Standards

Candace de Russy

In a bid to to raise tuition revenues, the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill lowered admissions and retention standards to admit unqualified applicants who had little hope of graduating, according to a lawsuit filed by a former dean. (Disclosure: I served as a SUNY Trustee for 12 years.)
 
According to Inside Higher Ed, Thomas J. Hickey, who filed the suit, claims he was fired as dean in retaliation for querying financially-motivated academic policies instituted by top administrators -- policies which condemned students to failure at the campus.
 
In an extraordinary communication cited in the suit, Thomas Cronin, a physics professor,  ringingly denounced the practices:
“The list of academically and morally corrupt practices that ensue from our inability to adhere to our own standards is rather long. One of our worst offenses is that we admit, and re-admit students absolutely unqualified and absolutely incapable of achieving a college degree. Many go into debt or cause their families to go into debt into [sic] order to attempt a college degree. This is an absolutely corrupt practice and it may be criminal. If we have done this to even one student, then we are guilty of a low form of corruption."
That some campuses may engage in such practices would come as no surprise to seasoned observers of higher education. But what is remarkable, even shocking -- and encouraging in this age of general cowardice on the part of so much of the education status quo -- is the rare willingness of a professor and former administrator so boldly and publicly to take up the cause of restoring high academic standards.

The Continuing Rot at Duke University

Michael Krauss

Herewith a link to the most recent posting by the excellent legal journalist Stuart Taylor.  In a book co-authored with K.C. Johnson, Taylor had chronicled in detail the enormous travesty of justice at Duke when a black stripper falsely accused white male lacrosse players of rape -- the denial of due process to the laxers was reminiscent of Jim Crow days, but with racial roles reversed.  [I discuss the case and the book in an Academic Questions article entitled "Durham's Disgrace" - subscription required].  Taylor's recent posting details the continuing rise to glory of the Duke academics who had tried to "lynch" the laxers.  It makes for riveting and depressing reading.  Duke alums, if you haven't yet suspended your donations, now's the time.

Top Consideration: Not Education, But Money

George Leef

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, I write about an enlightening lawsuit involving a demoted dean's allegation that his school deliberately trashed its academic standards to help retain weak students. My argument is that colleges and universities have been doing this for decades, but have usually been subtle enough not to get caught (or sued, at least). The case also highlights the need to employ what economists call "Public Choice" theory -- i.e., the assumption that public officials will generally make decisions that are in their own interest rather than for "the public good"--when we think about the actions of college officials.

Supreme Court Will Decide on Religious Student Groups vs. Nondiscrimination Policies

Ashley Thorne

See Inside Higher Ed:

Both sides in the case before the court argue that they are defending students from discrimination. "Often university officials don't like the religious groups and we see [colleges' anti-bias rules] as one more mechanism for keeping religious groups off campus," said Kim Colby, a lawyer for the Christian Legal Society, which wants the right to organize chapters at public law schools even if those law schools ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The society excludes gay people -- and others who do not share its faith.

See also FIRE:

FIRE will be filing an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief with the Court in support of the Christian Legal Society's appeal, asking the Court to continue its longstanding protection of expressive association.

ADF:

University administrators, moreover, seem to have a lot a trouble complying with the First Amendment.  Let us pray that the Supreme Court will vindicate the foundational principles underlying our first freedom.

Volokh:

But just as the right to abortion, speech, or private education doesn’t yield a right to government funding of abortion, speech, or private education — and isn’t even violated by rules that expressly exclude abortion, certain subject matters of speech, or private education from generally available benefit programs — so the right to expressive association isn’t violated by rules that give benefits only to groups that organize themselves in a certain way. And while these conditions on funding would be unconstitutional if they discriminated based on the viewpoint of the groups’ speech, a ban on discrimination in selecting members or officers is a ban based on conduct, not on the viewpoint of the groups’ speech.

The Dark Side of Diversity

Ashley Thorne

"Being white and straight, I felt doubly cursed with a dearth of fascinating material. What story could I tell to prove my worth?" One woman's college experience provides a glimpse at how the diversity movement punishes even its supporters.

The Score: Test Rigging before Ricci

Glenn Ricketts

Twenty years before Ricci, two NAS members debunked

Chastening Churchill: The Justice of Judge Naves

Peter Wood

Why academic freedom is not a defense for Ward Churchill.

The Race Isn't Over

Ashley Thorne

Complying with federal regulations, Virginia Tech calls on students to identify their race and ethnicity.

What Does Ricci Mean for Higher Ed?

Peter Wood

What principles about racial discrimination can we take from the case of the firefighters in New Haven?

Virginia Tech, Academic Freedom, and Employment Law: Part 1

Tom Wood

Faculty members at public universities are state employees, but public universities are not like other public institutions. So what are the governing principles for faculty employment?

Champlain Ethics

Peter Wood

How the University of Vermont waters down character education

The Effects of Proposition 209 on California: Higher Education, Public Employment, and Contracting

Charles Geshekter

This is an article from the "Future of Race Preferences" issue of Academic Questions (vol. 21, no. 3). It is an address that was originally presented at

Dizzy Diversity

Ashley Thorne

Today NAS completes its serializing of Getting Under the Skin of "Diversity" by Larry Purdy. Purdy, one of the lawyers who represented Jennifer Gratz and Barbara Grutter in the U.S. Supreme Court cases Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, takes us inside an upside down house of racial preferences.

Virtuoso Violinists Beware Texas

Peter Wood

Texas, in the quest for diversity, tries to balance affirmative action and the top ten percent rule in college admissions.

10. Just Say No to Racial Preferences

Tom Wood

Tom Wood asks the relevant question about racial preferences and contextualizes diversity research at the time of the Gratz and Grutter cases.

By No Means: Michigan Judge Turns Tables on Advocacy Groups Determined to Derail Civil Rights Initia

Terry Pell

Terry Pell gives the first public analysis of the recent court decision ending (for now) the legal challenges to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.